Grade schools, university and college teachers who once ordered educational films through the mail may be able to scroll, click and instantly view them in the near future. Four independent US film distributors have announced they’d like to research the option of sharing an online portal for their catalogs, and explore the feasibility of streaming their docs online. The venture between educational film distributors California Newsreel, Bullfrog Films, First Run/Icarus Films and Women Make Movies would make use of the wider Internet audience that has already made YouTube a major player on the Web.
Women Make Movies executive director Debra Zimmerman says the distribs have over 2,000 titles combined, though the consortium is still far from getting them online as this undertaking is currently only ‘in the very premature stages of exploration,’ describes Zimmerman. No concrete details over pricing, servers and licenses have been hammered out just yet, but Zimmerman says they have assigned media consultant Robin Vachal to talk to people in the field, and to explore all of the options available to the group.
All four companies are already contributors to Docuseek, an Internet database of educational films, along with four other film distributors.